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The Truth About Agave

The Truth About Agave

From Experience Life

Is agave nectar a healthy alternative sweetener or an overhyped sugar syrup?

The claim: Agave nectar has gotten some positive press for being better for you than sugar and many other sweeteners because it metabolizes more slowly. Food manufacturers who package and sell agave in the U.S. market also claim that it has been used medicinally by indigenous people in Mexico and Central America for centuries.

The reality: How fast or slow agave metabolizes depends on its level and method of processing. Derived from a starchy root, agave has been used in Central America for centuries, but not always as medicine. Indigenous people both fermented it to create an alcoholic beverage and also boiled it to make miel de agave, a reduction they used as a sweetener. But that sweetener, which was minimally refined and probably slower to digest as a result, bears no resemblance to the agave nectar now on most store shelves.

The fine print: The modern process for producing agave nectar is not unlike the process of converting corn into high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS). Most industrially produced agave syrup is processed with enzymes and other harsh chemicals that convert the starches into fructose, according to osteopathic physician and best-selling author Joseph Mercola, DO. The finished product, agave nectar, is 70 percent (or more) fructose, on par with HFCS.

Bottom line: If you’re avoiding added sugars, and especially fructose, don’t give commercial agave syrup a special pass.

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Is Agave Worse Than High Fructose Corn Syrup?

Read more: Basics, Health,

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Experience Life

Experience Life magazine is an award-winning health and fitness publication that aims to empower people to live their best, most authentic lives, and challenges the conventions of hype, gimmicks and superficiality in favor of a discerning, whole-person perspective. Visit to learn more and to sign up for the Experience Life newsletter, or to subscribe to the print or digital version.


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7:00AM PST on Jan 2, 2013


2:30PM PST on Nov 19, 2012

good to know

9:17AM PDT on Aug 7, 2012


2:25AM PDT on Aug 6, 2012


9:01PM PDT on Aug 5, 2012

This too is not good for you either! You need to go with stevia strictly if you want an all natural sugar, Period!

3:01PM PDT on Jul 28, 2012

Thanks for the info.

6:08AM PDT on Jul 28, 2012

But it has one advantage: it's used in making tequila!!! ;-)

6:07AM PDT on Jul 28, 2012

I don't think it's available in Poland anyway, or if it is, it's probably very expensive. ;-)

1:45AM PDT on Jun 4, 2012

I like stevia just fine for coffee. I don't eat other sweet(pastries, etc).

12:31AM PDT on Jun 2, 2012

Thanks for the information.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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